Until recently, I had never heard of Parkour (gymnastics+martial arts). I inadvertently heard the term while watching an episode of “New Girl” and one of the characters shouted out “Parkour” as he tried to scale the wall of his apartment. While I let the term slip by, it would mean more after reading how “Parkour” has made an impact in Iran.
For Iranian women, “Parkour” is not just a sport, but a life-saving strategy. “Parkour”- a combination of martial arts & gymnastics, enable women to develop strength and flexibility through running and repelling off walls. Not surprisingly, “Parkour” is popular with men, but it has also attracted women. Even less surprising is the fact that men are lauded for excelling on this sport, while the women who practice this are subjected to ridicule or apathy, not support. It’s not uncommon that women are still being treated as less than equal and it’s a shame that women have to fight their way to survive.
Iranian women face restrictions on a daily basis. Whether it’s how they dress or conduct themselves in public, these restrictions have become a part of their existence, but it is changing. “Parkour” has allowed them to express their frustrations towards their government and how they are treated. Women have been using this sport to release pent-up energy that has restricted their movements in most everything they do.
It’s amazing to see how far women will go to ensure that they are treated as equals. For Iranian women, the battle for equality may be slow but with the tenacity shown by those who practice Parkour, it’s a challenge they’re willing to fight for. That’s my view on this, what’s yours?
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